Ithaca College Quarterly 2004/2 Mailbox

 

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Essay Unease

It was with initial satisfaction that I read "Breaking Tradition" in the latest issue of the ICQ. However, my emotions rapidly turned to anger when I read the "Last Look" commentary by Professor Frank Musgrave. ("Conservatives, Stand Up!").

While I am a strong supporter of free speech, it appears that the editor of the Quarterly and perhaps administrators of the College still cannot comfortably embrace the concepts of affectional diversity.

It is deeply distressing that you followed an article about two gay alumni and their celebration of a joyous occasion with statements like Musgrave's. He mentions an article in the Ithacan about the Ithaca College Republicans checking the voting registration of 125 faculty members. Why does the Quarterly give such prominence to someone championing witch hunts -- such as searches of voter records to determine personal political affiliations? This sounds like McCarthyism in the 1950s.

Perhaps some alumni will embrace this attempt to use the Musgrave commentary to apologize for the earlier outreach to gay alumni. I am not among that group and will temper future support accordingly.

David Schutz '72
San Diego, Calif.

What a strange dichotomy. Though I rarely participate in alumni functions or contribute to the IC Quarterly, I always look forward to receiving the next issue to catch up on the progress of my college and my colleagues. Through all the moves I've made in the 21 years since I graduated, you always seem to track me down, like a dear old friend.

When the last issue arrived I was thrilled that the magazine of my alma mater included a profile of a gay couple. As my partner and I celebrate our 14th year together, we were happy to learn that those young guys from the class of '96 made the cut before the California Supreme Court called a halt to same-sex weddings. We were not as lucky. Though we were registered as domestic partners here, our April 4 appointment to wed was too late. As we watch what happens in Massachusetts with great interest, we remain second-class citizens in the eyes of our government.

Kudos to you for including their story with integrity, grace, and not a hint of sensationalism. They are, after all, just another loving couple celebrating their commitment to each other.

But how strange that such an inclusive and well-written article should appear in the same issue as Frank Musgrave's "Last Look" commentary ("Conservatives, Stand Up!"). The "moral authority" of "values" that Mr. Musgrave finds essential to conservative thought often masks an intolerant and discriminatory bias. We've seen too many examples of bigoted political agenda hiding behind conservative "ideology" at the cost of eliminating those we don't want sitting at "our" table.

No, Mr. Musgrave, cultural diversity is not less important than ideological diversity, even among scholars. Together they allow everyone a place to sit.

Jim Abele '83
Los Angeles

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